Japanese photographer Takehito Miyatake’s photos of magical firefly trails, glowing squid and awe-inspiring volcanic eruptions has recently won him Grand Prize at the 2014 Nikkei National Geographic Photo Awards. Miyatake’s long-exposure photography, which can last anywhere from 15 seconds to 30 minutes, captures what he describes as the “light of Japan.”

In a recent interview with TIME, Miyatake described his connection between waka and nature photography:

Waka is a poem to express the scope of nature [by] using limited words since its birth in the eighth century in Japan. The method has been working beautifully and precisely to express nature with sympathy. I believe Waka is very similar to nature photography.

Visit Miyatake’s website: http://miyatake-p.com

Miyatake describes “The still photograph is to moving pictures what poetry is to prose – less comprehensive perhaps, less literal even, yet somehow capable of expressing a deeper truth”:

When I photograph, a mystic feeling comes over me. I sometimes admire the mysterious legends that are a part of Japanese folklore that express a fear of nature. I believe Waka also intends to capture this sort of fear of the mystic beauty of nature.

Takehito Miyatake’s photos 

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In spring, firefly squid (hotaru ika) rise 2000 feet to the surface of the water and offer a fleeting glimpse of their magical lights

Source: Takehito Miyatake, Time
Image credits: Takehito Miyatake
All above photography is the work of Takehito Miyatake